Back in March, GOT7 became Exhibit A in my diatribe about messy K-pop verses. Their “Look“ was only half a great song, with its memorable chorus waylaid by all the atonal posturing around it. Hearing teasers for new single “Lullaby” convinced me that it would be more of the same, but this time the guys have enlisted outside producers in the form of the Full8loom team. Would new collaborators be able to reign in some of the messiness that has plagued latter-day GOT7 singles?
Yes, and no. “Lullaby” is definitely more cohesive than “Look”, and it has an even stronger chorus. Unfortunately, its lethargic verses spoil some of the fun. The song’s first 45 seconds offer little imagination, retreading the kind of trendy tunelessness that sees the members’ performance perched somewhere between singing and rap. This middle ground proves to be unmemorable, and mars the sloppy post-chorus breakdown as well. It’s not that these moments are completely devoid of pleasure. It’s just that they feel cut from a different song entirely. They blunt the track’s energy just as it gets going.
Fortunately, “Lullaby”’s chorus gives us a peek at just how thrilling a song this could have been. Its upbeat production takes cues from “Look”’s deep house influences, but feels more fully realized. There’s a wonderful sense of propulsion, complimented by a sticky melody that hearkens back to classic boy group K-pop. Each time this hook comes around, “Lullaby” transforms into the kind of world-conquering hit you’d expect from a group of GOT7’s popularity. This sense of contrast makes the track as frustrating as it is exhilarating, but at least it feels like they’re getting closer to finding an effective balance.